New Delhi: French-made Rafale fighter planes along with Russian developed Sukhoi-30MKI have been tasked to guard India’s eastern airspace against China and will serve Eastern Air Command of Indian Air force. First confirmation of Rafale likely to be deployed near China has come from none other than Commanding-in –Chief (AOC-in-C) of the Eastern Air Command Air Marshall C Hari Kumar himself, while he was speaking to the media.
Plans to deploy Rafale, Sukhoi Combo which will be India’s best fighter aircraft technologically means India expects China to deploy their Sukhoi-35 or 5th generation fighter in the region in near future. Due to hectic Chinese air force deployment in the region , India has deployed Two Squadrons of Sukhoi-30MKI in the region and now also plans to deploy one more Squadron soon.
Deployment plans of India’s latest purchase of Rafale fighter jet seem to be well chalked out capability investment to meet rising challenges from China. People’s Liberation Army Air Force for last few years has been steadily upgrading and modernising its frontline and deep airbase in the region near India. PLAAF already has made them All-weather capable which allows them to operate this airbase all year long, which was not the case earlier when Chinese Squadrons could relocate deeper.
Indian Airforce also has recorded highest familiarisation sorties conducted by PLAAF in the region which reveal that China has made long-term deployment plans in the region. Terrain and the weather in this part of the country is a major challenge but both are critical as far as air operations are concerned and only year-long deployment can give required familiarisation to the crew and added edge when planning their operations in the region.
Rafale and Sukhoi likely to be deployment in the region indicates that threat level from PLAAF in the region has considerably increased over the year and IAF is finally gearing up to face two front war with region rival Pakistan and China but do they have adequate planes to do the job is another question.